São Paulo/North Side
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Culture & Shopping
Despite being the site of the largest fairgrounds in Latin America, Parque do Anhembi, and of the modern Expo Center Norte, the north side of the capital does not live on business alone. The neighborhood of Santana, for example, where the Tietê Bus Station and the Campo de Marte Airport are located, is an increasingly popular center for restaurants, nightclubs, stores, art galleries, and antique shops.
Nightlife is very upbeat on Luís Dumont Villares Avenue, with its many styles of bars and nightclubs. The place to be in the neighborhood of Freguesia do Ó is Largo da Matriz, a square reminiscent of a small town with bars and local hangouts such as the excellent Frangó, voted many times the bar with the best hors d’oeuvre in the city—coxinha de galinha, a chicken-stuffed delight. The variety of beer on offer, from all around the world, is another highlight. The headquarters of many of São Paulo’s samba schools are also located in Santana and surrounding areas, around the famed Sambódromo, and tourists are welcome at their rehearsals and events. There is even a tour which includes five samba schools from this region: X-9, Mocidade Alegre, Rosas de Ouro, Unidos do Peruche and Unidos de Vila Maria.
If you’re looking for calmer, more relaxing environments, the options are also good. The Serra da Cantareira e Parque Estaudal is one of the largest and most beautiful green spaces in the capital, which preserves tracts of first-growth coastal rainforest vegetation. Its lookout is the main attraction, with a panoramic view of the city, of Pico do Jaraguá and the Serra do Mar mountain range. Cantareira is also perfect for a romantic evening, with several bars and restaurants catering to couples in love. Alberto Loefgren State Park is another option on the north side. Better known as the Horto Florestal, it has an area for events, exercise, and picnics as well as a playground and jogging path.
Parque do Carmo, and its recently reopened Planetarium with a state-of-the-art projector and cutting edge technology, is one of the most important green space leisure areas on the east side. It has bike and jogging paths, a soccer field, playgrounds, barbeques and areas for picnics and aerobic exercise.
Some of the capital’s consumer Meccas are on the north side, such as Shopping Center Norte, the busiest in São Paulo with an average of 6 million visitors per month, Lar Center specialized in furniture and interior design, and Shopping D, known for its bargains.